Matcha Tea
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 12:53 PM

Many people drink green tea for health reasons.  It is a superstar when it comes to antioxidant levels, and is being studied for its potentially curative properties on multiple health concerns, whether it's staving off the aging process or fighting cancer.  If you want to "up the ante" it's time to consider switching from green tea to matcha.

Now, matcha is still green tea, but it's the entire leaf of camellia sinensis that's been ground up, as opposed to the brew created from steeping the tea leaves in hot or cold water. So when you drink matcha, you're actually ingesting the entire green tea leaf.

Farmers cover the plants during part of the growing season to create thinner, better-tasting leaves. The most tender inner leaves of the plant are hand-picked, steamed, and aged to create a deeper flavor. They retain more nutritional benefits because they're less processed.  

There are different grades of matcha tea and it can get a little complicated. For beginners, just remember that there is usucha, which has a thinner consistency, and koicha, which is a lot thicker. If you're not used to matcha, try usucha first.  

Making a Decent Cup of Matcha at Home Is Easy.  You can use a small metal whisk,  You just need a medium-sized ceramic bowl, hot water, and good quality matcha.  Sift about half a teaspoon of matcha into the bowl. Use the whisk to break up the clumps first so the matcha is as smooth as possible. The water should be 175°F—in other words, not boiling. If it reaches a full boil, let it cool off for a minute and a half before pouring.  Next, add a small amount of water—only an ounce or two. Then use the whisk to briskly stir in a "W" shaped pattern (rather than circular) for about ten seconds. You want the matcha to appear smooth and creamy and slightly thick.  Then sip it and enjoy. Matcha is sweet and has a stronger, grassy taste than regular ol' green tea.  Matcha has undertones of hay and sunshine.

Keep in mind that the tea particles never fully dissolve. If you set your matcha down for a few minutes, it will separate and require more whisking.  If you don't want to bother with the hot water and the whisking, you can use the cold brew method. Just add the amount of matcha you prefer to cold water in a container with a lid. Then shake until it's a rich, bright-green liquid. As with the hot version, the tea particles will settle if left to sit for a few minutes, so remember to shake it again if you put the bottle down.